United to start trading
English giants to start trading in New York
Last Updated: August 10, 2012 12:03pm
Old Trafford: Manchester United will start New York stock flotation on Friday
Manchester United shares will start trading in New York later on Friday at a big discount on the club's earlier expectations over its worth.
United's advisers will offer a 10% stake at a price of US$14 (£9), valuing it at around £1.5billion, but much lower than the range of US$16 to 20 (£10-12) it had hoped to achieve, worth up to £2.1billion.
The club, bought by the Glazer family in 2005 for about £800million, will raise about US$233m (£149m) and this will be partly used to pay off some of its debt.
The lower flotation price comes after the Glazer family, which also owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL gridiron team, previously failed to garner sufficient support to sell shares on exchanges in Hong Kong and Singapore.
However, United, who claim to have a global fanbase of about 660 million and have won a record 19 Premier League titles, is still one of the world's most valuable sports teams.
The club's shares will begin trading on Friday under the stock market ticker Manu.
Richard Hunter, head of UK equities at Hargreaves Lansdown stockbrokers, said the lowering of the flotation price was "disappointing but not unexpected".
"As was the case with the UK experience, football clubs are notoriously difficult investments, ultimately tied to the fortunes of the club on the pitch," he added.
"However, interest in the sport is taking off in the US and last night's Olympics victory for the women's football team is likely to fuel interest further."
It had been expected that the Glazers would make about £90m from the deal, with the remaining proceeds raised in the initial public offering (IPO) used to pay down some of the 134-year-old club's debt, which was last reported to be around £423m.
Although the listing has been planned for some time, the Glazer family originally claimed all the proceeds would go towards paying down United's debt, angering fans.
A successful IPO would reportedly result in investors owning 42% of the shares available but only carrying voting rights of 1.3%.
Earlier this month, a leading Manchester United fans' group called for a boycott of the club's expanding portfolio of sponsors in protest at the planned flotation.
A statement from the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST) read: "The Manchester United Supporters Trust has today called for a worldwide boycott of Manchester United sponsors' products, with support across the UK, Europe, Asia and the US.
"The boycott strategy is intended to send a loud and clear message to the Glazer family and club sponsors that, without the support and purchasing power of the fans, the global strength of the Manchester United brand doesn't actually exist."
MUST has tried such tactics before during the Glazer regime, although it has not prevented the Red Devils' territory-specific approach allowing them to become the first club to smash through the annual £100m barrier for commercial revenue alone.